With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Professor Elemental – Fulford Arms, York – Sunday 15th May 2022 May 17, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 9:35 am
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This was not a bad-sized crowd considering it was a Sunday night and I reckon everyone in the Fulford Arms enjoyed tonight’s gig, including the wonderful staff that always give the venue an extra pinch of music fairy dust! Interestingly there were no instruments on stage and while that might seem strange when you read about the performances you will see that it really didn’t matter. To be fair a couple of instruments, a Keytar and a recorder did make appearances later. First up was Matty Groove from Leeds who beatboxes like no one I have ever heard before. He is a true beatbox genius. How does someone develop a talent like that? He did techno, drum & bass, and a great take on “No Limits” the 1993 hit from 2 Unlimited. At one point he had five different noises going on at the same time. His Spotify bio simply says “i speak the groove and sample my mouth” and in a nutshell that is what he does, awesome!

Matty Groove

Next, it was A Short Dark Stranger, is he a musician, a performer, an entertainer, a full-on electro lounge singer, or a comedian? Yes to all of those actually! This really was a full-on performance by Mr. Stranger. Well, don’t expect me to give away his secret identity! Anyone who hates the Tories is a good person in my opinion and in at least two of his songs “The World Will Give You Cancer” and “Even Sharks Can Smile” are wonderfully witty and biting in their anti-establishment lyrics. “Pale Blue Dot” based on Carl Sagan’s observation of the insignificance of our planet was great. But perhaps my favourite for which the Keytar came out was “Hindenberg”, a song about the doomed dirigible in the style of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD). He even threw in the synth riff from “Enola Gay” at one point. I can’t pick out the reason, but at times I was reminded of Har Mar Superstar. I definitely hope to see A Short Dark Stranger again sometime.

A Short Dark Stranger

Finally, it was time for tonight’s headliner Professor Elemental. I knew this would be a good show for many reasons: people recommended it, I have listened to some of his stuff online, and he has comics and tea on his merch table. What other acts have that kind of merch? Dressed in his ubiquitous stage clothes of safari style suit and pith helmet, but this time in a rainbow style, Professor Elemental was keen to make this a really feel-good, happy show and he succeeded and in fact overachieved on that score. The costume was that of one of the great lost characters that should have appeared in that bloody awful remake of ‘Jumanji’. There is no one quite like Professor Elemental, certainly no rapper more totally old school English. The Wall Street Journal described him as “Chap hop’s leading exponent”. He has a huge following in the steampunk community and it is easy to see why. But that is not exclusive, there were clearly fans of all genres of music in attendance judging by the t-shirts being worn in the crowd. There are some great songs in his repertoire, I loved “Noise” during which the crowd kept Susan The Unicorn aloft for the whole track. She had been inflated with whimsy don’t you know! The sleazy businessman costume change for the businessman song was sublime satire. Then there was the amazing off-the-cuff rap accompanied by more amazing beats from Matty Groove. “All In Together” was another great tune that the Professor dedicated to the Fulford Arms team and all the punters. Audience participation was 110% throughout, every one of us did exactly what the Professor asked of us. You need to see Professor Elemental live, you will not be disappointed!

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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Shezza’s Leaving Do – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 7th May 2022 May 16, 2022


It took a while but Shezza’s Leaving Do finally arrived and it was shaping up to be really special. For anyone of my regular readers who has no idea who Shezza is he is one of the founders of York’s wonderful music venue the Fulford Arms. His real name is Chris Sherrington and he is moving on to do a whole range of other things including working for the Music venues Trust. If you don’t know who Chris is Brad from one of the bands on the bill at this show, the Howl and the Hum described him like this on social media “Chris is a rare kind of creature. A sort that I particularly love as a monomaniacal obsessive within the music industry. He has dedicated himself to music in a way that few do. People usually think about the bands (for good reason), but without people like Chris, bands can’t exist. He’s the good side of the ‘industry’. He has turned the Fulford Arms from a waining pub into a truly great music venue. It fills a special gap as a venue that I’d imagine is hard to maintain financially. It is small enough for your first gig but big enough for almost anyone to play on the right night. It sounds amazing, the lights are great, it has a dressing room, a shower, more than one toilet (including one in a wardrobe), a great bar with wonderful staff, and brilliant sound engineers. This didn’t happen by accident. It happens when people care. It happens when people dedicate themselves for years to a space and don’t give up. Not many do it. They don’t have the guts, and they’re not stupid enough to doggedly stay in music until things eventually work out. We are lucky in York to have a few people like this, all of which mean our band still exist. Chris by no means did all this alone, the whole team is amazing of course” I don’t think anyone could have said it better! Thank you Brad but absolutely huge thanks to Chris!

Trueman And The Indoor League

It was an early start and sadly I missed Chris Sherrington performing with Petrol Hoers who according to their social media play digital horsecore. But I did get to see Chris as the set ended and now I probably need therapy! He was wearing pants and an animal mask (Zebra I think) as was his partner in Petrol Hoers crime. I definitely need to see them play at some time though. After that, it was time for a band that I have now seen six times, including on the date that was originally scheduled as Shezza’s Leaving Do. For me, one mark of a good band is a band that enjoys themselves on stage and this lot clearly does. Bearing in mind Trueman was suffering from an eye infection and went off to hospital straight after their set this was still an awesome set. The saga of the broken g string (you probably had to be there) was superb performance art! The new tune “Judas The Messiah” is one of the band’s best songs to date. Was there really a Frankie Valli and Postman Pat reference in there or did my ears deceive me? “Playstation Dreaming” without guitar was pure and classic Trueman. Can this bunch be the UK performers at next years Eurovision, please? (I did write that note on the night and therefore well in advance of Sam Ryder’s epic showing on May 14th).

The Howl And The Hum

The Howl And The Hum played two sets and the first was billed as a “normal” set, more of their second set later. But for this one, it was a classic outing for probably the greatest band ever to arise from my adopted city, York and the competition is fierce too. The highlights for me were “Hostages” and “The Only Boy Racer Left On The Island”, the latter was eloquently dedicated to Mr. Sherrington. Every one of the band was playing at 110% tonight and it showed. Do they usually have support from a backing vocalist? I am not sure, but bloody hell it worked, she was great. For a band that describes themselves as “a miserable disco who write Bond themes” the comment about playing at Chris Sherrington’s wake was classy comedy. Next, it was the wonderfully named Pat Butcher, a real 21st Century punk powerhouse of a band who write incendiary modern-day stories, just like the Bards of old, but with added sonic assault. If Samuel Pepys was around today I am sure who would be writing stuff like “Race Day Wankers”. Is this one of the best, and truest, songs about York and probably any other city that hosts big horse race meetings? They have songs about nosy neighbours, angle grinders, and council workers to name just a few subjects. The guitarist is like a satanic cross between Angus Young and Kevin the Teenager and he fuels the songs stupendously. Is this the first band ever to use a mandolin in a punk style? (That was a mandolin, right?). In the most true sense of the phrase, this band really is 4 REAL!

Pat Butcher

Flat Cap Carnival is another band that I had not seen before tonight. How the hell would all of them fit on the Fully Arm’s intimate stage? I’m not sure, but they did. Who knew York could do Latin music so well? This abundantly talented 7-piece is an incredible party band that it is impossible not to shake your arse to. Their original songs are perfect, but their covers take them to another universe completely. “All That She Wants”, “Careless Whisper” and “Spice Up Your Life” were masterclasses in how to cover a song. They made each one their own and allegedly Chris Sherrington requested the Spice Girls cover. Their social media tag describes them as “a Latin-infused Skanival band from York. Dancing is compulsory.” I definitely can’t argue with that! Now it was time for the second set of the evening from the Howl And The Hum, described on the bill as a party set. How would these self-confessed purveyors of miserable disco perform a party set we all wondered? Singer and frontman Sam did ask for forgiveness before they started, but frankly, forgiveness is not required. This was a covers set like no other and it proves that this is a band who could turn their hands to anything. Kicking off with a stomping “Highway To Hell” the band mesmerised the audience and we were all up for a party. they followed with a funky version of Prince’s “Kiss” which for me took the song back from that awful Tom Jones version of it from a few years back. They did a marvellous cover of Jone’s “Delilah” later in the set too. “Psycho Killer” was very special indeed and if you shut your eyes you could imagine it was Talking Heads playing in a small sweaty venue. “These Boots Are Made For Walking” works so well when performed by a rock band, the mighty Avalanche Party used to include that in their set back in the day. My least favourite song ever is probably Robbie Williams’ “Angels” and to be fair the Howl And The Hum even made that sound ok. Although it was a covers party set the band closed with one of their own songs, the sublime “Godmanchester Chinese Bridge”. A second set from such a great band was a fine way to end a really great night.

Flatcap Carnival

It was great to run into so many people from the York music scene on the night too. Including band members, even those not on the bill, venue owners and managers, promoters, photographers, sound engineers and far too many to mention by name. But a truly wonderful bunch of people that make support York’s amazing music scene. Chris will be missed by the Fulford Arms but he will continue to do great things with the Music Venues Trust. To paraphrase Abba, Thank You For The Music, Chris and good luck with whatever you do next!

All pictures were taken by me on my cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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Avalanche Party – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 2nd April 2022 April 4, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 10:22 pm
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I never like to pass up the chance to witness the mighty Avalanche Party in all their live pomp and glory and this was no exception, especially at a wonderfully intimate venue like the Fulford Arms in York. Later I have some big news regarding how many times I have experienced a live show from Avalanche Party. A big shout out to Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography for all the excellent pictures below. (Click the link to his page and you will find plenty more great shots from the gig). First I need to tell you about the rather spiffing support bands. First to take the iconic Fully Arms stage were the Rosemaries, a band whose combined total age is not much more than my actual age! They belie their youth with pummelling punk power and a guitar sound ripped from the still-beating heart of the best of early 70s glam rock. The singer has the perfect John Lydon whiney style post-punk voice. They have some great tunes particularly “Debutante”, Kismet” and “Easy Peasy”. Mid-set the singer took a break while the guitarist sang a song called “Hornsea”, about the East Riding seaside town that is a victim of erosion. Does Hornsea get a bad press or is it a shithole? (Answers on a postcard please). This is a magnificently exciting band that has punk passion and energy by the skip load. I see elements of Public Image Ltd and Yard Act in them, but don’t let that fool you. The Rosemaries are a band with great potential in their own right!

The Rosemaries. Picture by Aron Murray, Head Honcho of Vexed Music Photography.
The Rosemaries. Picture by Aron Murray, Head Honcho of Vexed Music Photography.

Based on their legacy Pennine Suite were always going to be a good band, but now they are fast heading towards being a great band. This was their second set of the day after they had wowed the crowds at the York Life Festival in Parliament Street in the afternoon. They are building up a classy canon of great tunes. “Impatience” has become a mountainous banger in their live set. Their next single, due in the summer, I believe it is called “Far” sounds rather ace. The double highlight for me was the two outings the band gave to their fabulous current single “Pass On You” which has hit 5,000 streams in a week! Get this band in your ears NOW! watch out for an interview with Pennine Suite frontman Nick coming to these pages very soon.

Nick from Pennine Suite. Picture by Aron Murray, Head Honcho of Vexed Music Photography.
Louise (and a slice of Harry) from Pennine Suite. Picture by Aron Murray, Head Honcho of Vexed Music Photography.

Finally, it was time for perhaps my favourite band in the world right now, Avalanche Party. I promised you some big news about how many times I have seen them play live. Including tonight’s gig, I have now seen them fourteen times. This pushes Frank Turner into second on thirteen times and David Bowie third on twelve times! Thanks to Joe Bell for the name check from the stage. This was another classic Avalanche Party set. The new tunes sounded very special indeed and bode well for the sophomore album which a source tells me may well be recorded in August. Avalanche Party is now a band where every member gives it 150%. I suspect they would play like headliners wherever they were on the bill and however big the venue. While I hope they break out of grass roos venues and start playing huge venues it is something quite special to see such an immensely talented band in this environment. The combination of Joe’s supernova bass lines and Kane’s thunderous drumming continue to keep the band’s engine running perfectly. On top of that, the psych keyboard licks and flourishes from Glen combined with Jared’s other world guitar work make them a band like no other. But obviously, I can’t ignore the performance of their extraordinary frontman Jordan who plays and sings like a man possessed. No one does the penetrating rock star stare like him. There wasn’t a dull tune in the set tonight, but if I forced myself I would have to say “Bugzy” was my favourite, with “Solid Gold” a close second. This band deserves to be huge, let’s make that happen!

Jordan Avalanche – Picture by Aron Murray, Head Honcho of Vexed Music Photography.
Jared Avalanche – Picture by Aron Murray, Head Honcho of Vexed Music Photography.

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by Aron Murray, Head Honcho of Vexed Music Photography. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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Trueman And The Indoor League – Fulford Arms, York – Saturday 26th March 2022. March 30, 2022


This was originally planned, with a slightly different lineup, as Shezza’s Leaving Do. Shezza is of course Chris Sherrington who has decided to move on to different pastures after being at the rather wonderful Fulford Arms for quite a few years. And like many of us, Covid caught up with Chris so he was unable to be there for his leaving do! I am sure we all wish him a speedy recovery. Emerson, Lake and Palmer once said “Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends” (“Karn Evil 9” from the 1973 album ‘Brain Salad Surgery). Maybe the show that never ends will be Shezza’s Leaving Do. If it is I am sure it will be an absolute blast! A big shout out to Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography for all the excellent pictures below.

Rowan – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography
Amy May Ellis – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography

Unfortunately, Luke Saxton had to pull out, so I hope you are better soon sir! First on stage was Rowan. This bloke does folk with a punk attitude. His songs are full of anger, sadness, and also fun, even though some of those tunes are incredibly short. He makes his acoustic guitar talk and the way he attacks it gives it a real percussive element too. “Scrap Heap Man”, now that is a song! Following Rowan was singer-songwriter Amy May Ellis, who I first saw at the York City Screen Basement back in 2016. I said this about her nearly six years ago, “She is a great talent with a haunting and siren-like voice which weaves the words of her songs with a soaring grace.” that comment remains true. Musically she writes and performs 21st Century ethereal folk music with one foot in the long history of English folk storytellers. Amy has a gorgeous voice that reminded me of Laura Kindelan and on some occasions, her vocal phrasings were reminiscent of Bjork. She also has a great style of banter with her audience too. Why did I wait nearly six years before seeing the immensely talented Amy May Ellis again? I don’t plan on leaving it to 2027 for my next live show from her!

50% of Seattle On The Mantle – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography
What the Dickens? 50% of Seattle On The Mantle – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography

Next was Seattle On the Mantle, this was the second time I have seen them. The first being in November last year when they were supporting Seagoth. Back then they were a four-piece but they seem to have lost a couple of band members since then as they appeared here as a two-piece. It definitely sounds like the split with the most recent bass player was somewhat acrimonious, but I won’t dwell on that, this is a gig review, not a gossip column right? The two members left played an absolute blinder of a set. This is a band quite like no other, although, that said, I did detect some small pockets of influence from the Libertines and the Velvet Underground. The only song from their drunkenly planned concept album (how prog it would be to make a one-song concept album?) was a musical highlight for me. Another highlight was perhaps having an ace drummer stood up behind an economical drum set which he played like a sticksman possessed while dressed as a character from a Dickens novel. Great songs from a truly entertaining band, a Seattle On The Mantle album, concept or not, is needed methinks!

Trueman – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography
The Indoor League’s very own Clarence Clemons – Photo by Aron Murray of Vexed Music Photography

In a recent review, I described tonight’s headliners Trueman and the Indoor League as a Pound Shop E-Street Band. When I first wrote that my wife said “you can’t say that, it’s mean”. I replied that I meant it in a good way and thankfully that is the way the band took it, something I discovered after speaking to a few of them. Anyway, after a stupendous set, it is fair to say that they are definitely more E-Street than Pulp. They are evolving into a band that puts on more of a full-on entertaining review than just a gig. “Flares” and “Frivolous Things” were my top picks from tonight’s show, but it was a hard choice indeed. Trueman is a veritable cultural commentator through his songs which are in most cases astute observations of ordinary life. I believe that this band has the potential to outgrow intimate grassroots venues and ultimately move up to Arenas. So in case that happens, and I hope it does, then you need to get out and see Trueman and the Indoor League at wonderful places like the Fulford Arms while you still can. I am really hoping for an album from this lot soon. One final question, if the band ever graduates to playing stadiums will they have to rename themselves Trueman and the Outdoor League?

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by Aron Murray, Head Honcho of Vexed Music Photography. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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Ukraine Fundraiser – Fulford Arms, York – Friday 25th March 2022 March 28, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:57 pm
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Covid seemed to change the lineup for this Fulford Arms show every few hours, or was Vlad the Insane trying to prevent us from raising money for Ukraine? First This House Is Haunted dropped out with Covid and soon after that so did Cowgirl, I hope all the band members infected are now on the mend. This left the lineup as Captain Starlet (probably the next band name that I have heard in years and that is a typo in the gig poster. They definitely need to be on the same bill as the Mysterines, right?), Perspex, and the Black Lagoons. Sadly owing to me being at a York Literature Festival event earlier in the evening I missed Captain Starlet, although to be fair Magid Magid’s session at St Peter’s School was inspiring!

So first up for me was Perspex, a band that I saw for the first time last October as part of the Slow Education mini-festival at the Crescent in York. Back then I said “Perspex have a tank full of energy and probably a whole bunch of jerry cans full of the stuff too. At their peak, they sound like prime time Clash with vocal phrasings like Steve Harley. Who doesn’t love Perspex?” Tonight they came across like the Velvet Underground on copious amounts of E and a box of blues. After a slow and somewhat messy start and further fuelled by Guinness and shots they did get better. Singer Michael S. Cable tried hard to maintain that classic mean moody rock-star demeanour and mostly managed it. But when he let his guard down he was quite dryly amusing. Perspex are a great band, anyone who has seen them before can attest to that. However, this seemed like a sub-standard off night for them, well that is how it seemed to me. If I were crafting a school report for Perspex on this performance I would give them a C- and add “could do better” in the comments. But we all know Perspex can be an A+ band, don’t we?

The eventual headliners the Black Lagoons are a band that I have now seen five times in six years. They have an elegant rock swagger about them and they were really firing on all cylinders tonight. It may not have been a full house, but there was hardly anyone who wasn’t pushing to be near the stage. Black Lagoons have a long association with my favourite current band Avalanche Party and in fact three of the times I have seen them live they were supporting Jordan and the AP boys! Given the almost constant lineup and stage time changes, this was a stunning set from a great band. Psychedelic, punky, garage rock at its best! Probably the best I have seen them play, so far! Click here to stream their rather excellent new EP, ‘The Big Rock Candy Mountains’

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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Vaquelin – Fulford Arms, York – Friday 18th March 2022 March 23, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 2:43 pm
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This was my first Northern Radar gig for a while, but would it be fair to say that Head Honcho Simon P put on a good show, after all, he has never let me down yet. You’ll need to read on to find out how he did with this one though. Unfortunately, original headliners, Sick Joy had to pull out owing to illness, and on top of that only two-thirds of Please Remain Calm were able to make it for similar reasons, their drummer and bass player were missing This meant that Please Remain Calm took the stage first for an acoustic set. But this was no subdued, quiet acoustic set, it was a stunning tour de force. Chloe’s voice has become a towering force of nature with hints of both Amy Lee and Bjork. The guitarist was spectacular while maintaining the cool, calmness, and style of Bernard Butler in his Suede prime. “Smoke And Mirrors” has the makings of a classic future anthem, as does “Fall Apart”. Their cover of the Howl and the Hum’s “Hostages” was sublime, emotional, soulful, and made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, truly a beautiful take on a fantastic tune. I am so looking forward to experiencing a fully amped-up electric set from Please Remain Calm soon!

Please Remain Calm

A new band to me, Sweet May was up next. This is another great band with a resurgent 70s rock style. The lead singer/ guitarist made me think of Paul Kossoff, both visually and through his splendiferous guitar licks. His voice was more Paul Rodgers than Paul Kossoff though. There is hard rock, blues, and a sprinkling of funk in Sweet May‘s sweet sounds. The funk element is courtesy of the superlative drum and bass partnership. On some of the more extended wig-outs, I sensed maybe a Uriah Heep vibe going on. Set closer “Insane” was truly insane, but in an astonishingly good way! I definitely want to see this band again.

Adrian – Vaquelin

Finally, it was time for headliners Vaquelin to storm the stage. After a few feedback issues during their opening number the band moved into a solid heavy rock groove playing songs from their stunningly good debut album, ‘Where Dreams Hurt‘. The band were headlining tonight as Sick Joy had to pull out. But one of the many things that I love about Vaquelin is that they seem to play every set like a headliner, personally, I would hate to be in a band that has to follow them! Callum told me later that he couldn’t hear his guitar for the whole show, presumably fall-out from the earlier feedback issues. But frankly, his playing was up to his usual Jimmy Pagesque best. Adrian was on fire in the vocals department and we need new song, “Broken Windows” to be recorded and released as soon as possible, that was a set highlight for me. Once again the bands showed that Led Zeppelin ‘Hammer Of The Gods’ power with a rhythm section forged in the depths of Asgard! I could watch this band again and again and so could their passionate fans who I previously named Vaquelinians. Well, I suppose I am a proud Vaquelinian too! Did I hear a rumour that they have another album in the pipeline? I hope so!

All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.

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Katy Hurt – Fulford Arms, York – Thursday 17th March 2022 March 20, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 6:05 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Back when I was a teenager I couldn’t bring myself to listen to country music because that is the music that my parents loved. My Mum and Dad were great people but liking the music that they liked just wasn’t cool, or at least that is how my teenage brain saw it. But over the years I have grown to love really good country music. People like Roseanne Cash, Tammy Wynette, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and albums like ‘Sweetheart Of The Rodeo’ by the Byrds. I have also grown to appreciate artists like Elvis Costello and the Rolling Stone’s forays into country. In fact the classic Stones country pastiche from 1978, “Far Away Eyes” is one of my favourite Rolling Stones songs. Anyway having listened to Katy Hurt quite a few times recently, particularly her 2017 album ‘Pieces Of Me’, I thought I would check out her live show at one of York’s great venues, the Fulford Arms.

But before I tell you more of what Katy did, there is the little matter of the support act, Luke Saxton, a rather talented singer-songwriter from York. Luke is a storytelling troubadour with an immaculately downplayed sense of humour. This bloke knows how to entertain and has a wonderfully warm interaction with the audience. His songs remind me of an George Harrison, Harry Nilsson and sometimes lyrically of a young Mark Knopfler. His John Martyn cover was pretty ace, but his own songs are his real strength.

There was a positive hum of expectation as Katy Hurt and her band took to the stage. Katy is recognised as one of the British County music scene’s rising stars, but her authenticity in the genre is enhanced by the fact that she actually grew up in the USA, in Long Island New York. Still in her mid twenties Katy has been singing since she was four years old. The band kicked off like a Saturn V rocket off the launch pad with two proper thumping country rock tunes. Katy really knows how to work her crowd, and to be fair there were some real hard core Katy fans at stage front, apparently this was the third time that Nigel had seen the band this week! New song “Over And Done” sounded good when it was given a beautifully played airing early in the set. The band are hugely talented and help Katy show that she is more than “just” a country singer. There are blues elements, country rock like the Eagles and I suspect that this band could play any genre, particularly the guitarist who really makes his instrument sing. Katy’s song’s are what really makes the show though. Last year’s “Sounds Good In A Bar” single is clearly a fabulous song but also a brilliantly crafted crowd singalong fest. If pushed I would have to say that “Ride Home” was my personal highlight and is my current favourite Katy Hurt tune, although the first encore song,”Unfinished Business” was a close second. Both of these tunes are built on a kind of sad lament but build into fiery crescendos. The bluesy set closer totally showcased the depth of style that Katy and her band have. It was on this song that I thought Katy evoked her inner Dolly Parton so well. Check the tour poster at the head of this post, you might still be able to get tickets to see Katy play live!

Speaking of Dolly, she turned down her nomination to the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame this week which lead to a lot of on line chat about who might play on and produce the “hopefully great rock ’n’ roll album at some point in the future, which I have always wanted to do!” (extracted from Dolly’s Twitter statement). Well I reckon Katy and her band should be involved in that record somehow. Let’s get this message to Dollyworld as soon as possible!

All photos, apart from the tour poster, were taken by me (not on my cheap Chinese Android phone) on a proper camera! Videos were all found on YouTube.

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Fully Live Showcase #3 – Fulford Arms, York – Sunday 13th March 2022 March 17, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 12:12 pm
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This was the third Fully Live Showcase and I think the first that I have been able to make it to. It was originally scheduled to showcase four bands, but unfortunately New Age Vinyl had to pull out, hopefully, I will get to see them sometime soon. But that still left three bands on the bill, one of which I have seen before, so more of them later. A huge thank you to the Fully Arms team for pulling together such a great showcase! First on stage was Anthea Drive, a great band whose style brings some of the best 70s rock vibes into the 21st Century. Even before the arrival of new vocalist Michelle earlier this year Anthea Drive were very good but now they are stunningly good. Michelle took to the stage around three songs in after the lads had warmed up the crowd nicely. She adds an amazing new dimension and depth to the sound with her soaring voice and powerful stage presence. Michelle confided in me before she took to the stage that she was a little nervous, but that didn’t show at all, she and the band smashed it. The band is very tight and well-rehearsed and Michelle’s voice at times took me back to 70s rock a la Girlschool, Fanny, and even Suzi Quatro. Standouts for me were “Yes, I Want To Be A Ballerina” and the mountainous “Prisoner Of War”. I recommend you catch this band live as soon as you can, you will not be disappointed.

Anthea Drive

Next up was Doghouse Derelicts, I already liked them simply for the name. To be fair they were never going to be in the doghouse and they are most certainly not derelict. With at least three great singers in the band, their vocal harmonies were supremely well put together. At times I was reminded of Little Feat, Ronnie Lane, Free, and maybe the Eagles and I think that eclectic list of bands shows just how talented and versatile Doghouse Derelicts are. They know how to rock, they have soul and are simply a bloody brilliant rock band, I will definitely be looking out for more live shows from them. On top of that, they really seemed to be enjoying themselves too. Dave Budgen and Tim Hutton brought the band together some years ago while playing as part of the magnificent Dub Pistols. On stage, Tim Hutton was referred to as rock royalty and if you check out his cv that is probably true he has worked with so many music legends. Those legends include Afrika Bambaataa, Amy Winehouse, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Dub Pistols, Fela Kuti, Groove Armada, Lee Perry, Liam Howlett, Mike Skinner, Paul Oakenfold, Professor Green, and Tony Allen to name just a few!

Doghouse Derelicts

The last band on tonight was the rather wonderful City Snakes who I saw for the first time just last month, also at the Fulford Arms. If you could store the energy that these lads (and their hardcore fans) produce I reckon you could light up the city of York for a month. Are City Snakes the solution to the current energy crisis? Possibly! They have shades of the best of British punk and new wave in their sound from the Clash and the Undertones with an extra dollop of US class via the Strokes. They also have a similar approach and swagger to early Arctic Monkeys. I previously described them as having that dirty glam sound that the New York Dolls were so good at, and they have it in buckets! But don’t take the mention of all these bands to mean that I think these boys are copyists, they most definitely are a spectacularly good fuzzed up, punked-up garage band in their own right. The whole band was on form but I want to give a particular shout-out to the rhythm section, they were on fire to an erupting Vesuvius level tonight. City Snakes know how to rock and they know how to party, if seeing them live isn’t on your bucket list then there is something wrong with you! I should mention their fans too, who shorn of t-shirts and with snakes drawn on their backs moshed like their lives depended on it! I don’t want to reduce their street cred, but I met one of the band’s Dads tonight and he is a top bloke and obviously a huge City Snakes fan!

All the photos, apart from the gig poster, were taken using my cheap Chinese Android phone, hence the shady as shit quality! The videos were all found via YouTube. If any of the videos are yours and you would like me to credit you or remove them please let me know.

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‘Mainspring’ EP – Heartsink February 27, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 4:04 pm
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Those purveyors of pop-punk perfection, York’s very own Heartsink recently unleashed a new EP onto the world, it is called ‘Mainspring’ and it is rather splendid! It is on Ernald Troutman Records. If you grew up with Sum 41, Blink 182, or even Green Day you will love this seven-song collection. The title track opens proceedings and although clocking in at just over a minute it serves as almost an overture to what is to come. “Starting Over” has “release me as a single” written all over it. It has an awesome production, riffs to die for and hooks, and a chorus that echoes in your head for hours after listening to it. “Andy Bernard Does Not Lose Contests” has a backing that stretches away from the band’s pop-punk comfort zone with some sky-high riffage that borders on great metal. Meanwhile, the harmonies soar and the vocals are packed full of emotion. I assume that Andy Bernard is Ed Helms’s character from the US version of The Office. Enlighten me Heartsink! If you like music that smacks into your head like a sledgehammer until you let it in then “Beacon” is definitely for you. The drumming here is on a kind of level with the power to cause an extinction-level event tsunami. “Keepsake” has a late 70s power pop feel to it and everyone in the band is on absolute perfect top form on this track. Check out the rather spiffing video below. Heartsink show even more depth on the beautiful power ballad “Getting Older”, which after listening to the EP five times is probably my current favorite track. There is real passion and soul on display. The EP closes with the hugely powerful “Chasing Moments” which boasts yet another hook to die for. This is a fabulous EP that shows that these lads are not afraid to step away from their pop-punk roots at times. This will be getting plenty of spins by me and it is a clear sign that the future for Heartsink may be very bright indeed! The band is playing an EP launch show at The Fulford Arms tonight, Sunday 27th February. Get along to it if you can!

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Rolla/ City Snakes/ Vaquelin – Fulford Arms, York – Thursday 10th February 2022 February 11, 2022

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 5:16 pm
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Maybe it is that I am ancient, but tonight’s crowd seemed like a youth club crowd. But oh boy were they a brilliant crowd. First up was Vaquelin whose current album is a contender, along with Yard Act, for my album of the year already. The band absolutely stormed it and whether they set out to do this they played their set like they were headliners. Adrian’s vocals were soaring and powerful, do you think he looks a little like Enrique Iglesias? (Asking for a friend). Callum’s guitar playing was comparable with both Mick Ronson and Jimmy Page. How long will it be before he uses a violin bow on his guitar a la Page? Jack smashed his drums like he was possessed by the spirit of John Bonham and you could feel Luca’s bass in your chest. The so-far unreleased “Broken Windows” was incredible and needs to be a single! Vaquelin has a very strong core group of fans and I would like to name them Vaquelinians, Gaga has her Little Monsters so why shouldn’t Vaquelin have a fan family? You need this band in your life.

Next up was Rolla who signed a record deal this week. They are from Manchester, they have Brit Pop style, the lead singer, James Gilmore, wears a parka and sports a Liam Gallagher style haircut. That is how they appeared to me, but what did they sound like? Well the band seemed really tight and well-rehearsed and they do have some great songs, particularly “Sweet Lullaby” and “Show Me”. Gilmore also has the swagger, confidence, and charisma of a great frontman. But for me, they were a bit identikit Oasis. Is the world ready for a new version of the boys from Burnage? I said maybe………

The final band tonight was York’s excellent City Snakes and they were a bit special. Scuzzy garage rock like a punked-up Arctic Monkeys with an added portion of that dirty glam sound that the New York Dolls were so good at. The crowd went mental and created some pretty amazing mosh circles for such a brilliant intimate venue like the Fulford Arms. This is a band that knows how to entertain and they have an innate ability to whip their crowd into a frenzy!

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